Take a Sonic Vacation With Ela Stiles and Julianna Barwick

Barwick: Courtesy of Dead Oceans; Stiles: Courtesy of Bedroom Suck Records

Ela Stiles
Ela Stiles

Julianna Barwick
Dead Oceans


It’s hard to imagine a more refreshing listen than these two short, sweet EPs, both of which find inventive women manipulating the unadorned human voice in intriguing ways. Australian Ela Stiles‘ seven-song, 17-minute outing blends layers of warm a cappella singing in shifting combinations to evoke an earthy hybrid of medieval and futuristic. The centerpiece is the gently unsettling “Drone Transitions,” an 11-minute single vocal drone that’s eerily hypnotic.

Meanwhile, the ever-ethereal American Julianna Barwick partners with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery for the four-song, 16-minute Rosabi, adding sounds from the brewing process to her mesmerizing vocal loops. Continuing the hazy approach of her captivating albums Nepenthe and The Magic Place, Barwick’s dreamy textures are soothing and curiously stimulating at once, offering the perfect respite from daily stress.